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August 27, 2016



The Obama administration proposal would allow entrepreneurs to stay in the United States for up to two years provided they meet certain criteria, such as having an active role and "a significant ownership interest" in a startup with potential for rapid business growth and job creation. Evidence would include capital from U.S. investors or government grants of at least $100,000. Decisions would be made case by case. Read the proposed rule, which will be open for public comment for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. If a company continues to grow, the entrepreneur might be allowed to remain another three years. CQ reports that the administration is working to finalize the rule by the end of the year. A White House blog runs a note of support from Max Levchin, an immigrant from the Soviet Union who studied computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later co-founded Paypal.  

AUTONOMOUS AND UBIQUITOUS: A Defense Science Board study concludes that autonomy has reached "a 'tipping point' in value," with capabilities available to friend and foe alike. "DoD must take immediate action to accelerate its exploitation of autonomy while also preparing to counter autonomy employed by adversaries." The study recommends "a set of experiments/prototypes that would demonstrate clear operational value" and urges DoD to "take steps to engage non-traditional R&D communities in novel ways to both speed DoD’s access to emerging research results and identify areas in which additional DoD investment is needed." The Pentagon should consider using service laboratories, federally funded research and development centers and university-affiliated research centers in prototype development; attracting more IPAs (rotators); and enabling civilian and uniformed scientists and technologists to do sabbaticals in R&D organizations in the U.S. and abroad to understand and practice the state of the art."

YOUR COMMENTS ARE INVITED as the National Science Foundation updates its Strategic Plan. Weigh in on the Vision, Core Values, Strategic Goals and Strategic Objectives described in the current plan at this website

NEW NANO NODES: Current awards for Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN) nodes expire in September, 2017. Proposals for the next phase should address these questions: What compelling new nanoscience modeling and computational tool(s) will be developed and how will it advance nanotechnology to meet critical national needs? What will the Node undertake to nucleate a community of academic and industry users engaged in the new tool(s) and increase quality and quantity of nanoHUB tools, resources, and usage? How will the Node interact productively with the Cyber Platform and other Nodes to augment existing capabilities and ensure seamless and complementary advancement of the NCN’s goals? Learn more about NCN

SMART SERVICE: NSF's Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program "supports academe-industry partnerships, which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team collaborating with at least one industry partner to carry out research to advance, adapt, and integrate technology(ies) into a specified, human-centered smart service system." Projects "should be focused on translational, pre-commercialization space, building on novel fundamental research discoveries with the objective of creating or transforming a 'smart(er)' service system that has the potential for significant social and economic impact." Find out more.

YIPPIE! The Office of Naval Research "seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment" who show "exceptional promise for doing creative research." ONR's Young Investigator Program (YIP) is interested in receiving proposals aimed at supporting these investigators' teaching and research careers. Learn more.  See a list of 2016 winners

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE YOUNG to qualify for a Jefferson Science Fellowship and spend a year at the U.S. Department of State or USAID as a science advisor on foreign policy/international development. "Assignments are tailored to the needs of the hosting office, while taking into account the Fellows’ interests and areas of expertise. . . . Fellows also have the opportunity to travel to U.S. embassies and missions overseas."  Find out more

HIGHER FEES FOR DEVICE APPROVAL: The Food and Drug Administration and the medical device industry have tentatively agreed to a 68 percent hike on user fees funding the agency's regulatory initiatives, CQ reports. Industry participants say the agreement "would speed up product reviews, require two independent assessments of the FDA’s management of the approval process and allow the agency to hire additional evaluators, among other actions." 

WANT TO BECOME A REGULATOR? Postdoc medical and biological engineers can "work side-by-side with influential decision makers in (FDA's) Center for Devices and Radiological Health" for a year, receiving a $70,000 stipend and allowances for moving expenses and participation in scientific conferences. The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) is soliciting applications for the October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018 program year. This is competitive, with an 8.5% acceptance rate.


Graphic by Jennifer Pocock; click here for a larger interactive version.  

Source: National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Businesses Spent $341 Billion on R&D Performed in the United States in 2014.


A NEEDED CUSHION OR 'SLUSH FUND'? The Washington Post looks into a $2.2 billion University of Virginia strategic investment fund that could "finance the entire school and medical center for nine months." U.Va. is not alone. An analysis by Moody’s Investors Service found that as of June 30, 2015, "the University of Pittsburgh had enough cash — $2.3 billion — accessible within a month to run for 473 days. This metric, known as 'monthly days of cash on hand,' showed Purdue at 450 days, Penn State at 406 days and U-Va. at 314, according to Moody’s. Among other schools and systems analyzed, the University of Michigan stood at 239 days of cash on hand, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at 174 days, the University System of Maryland at 172, the University of Washington at 129 and Virginia Tech at 115."

ENGINEERS ARE NUMBER TWO: "Where the Tech Jobs Are: 2016" by IEEE Spectrum reports that 67 percent of employers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, the highest number since 2007, according to job site CareerBuilder’s annual forecast. Second only to business majors, freshly minted engineers are set to enjoy most of that hiring goodwill as the U.S. economy continues its slow-but-steady postrecession growth. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), at the end of last year, two-thirds of company respondents were planning to hire engineers.


ENGINEERING BETTER HEALTHCARE: Kathleen H. Sienko, left, an associate professor in the departments of mechanical and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, gave an overview of the school's Global Health Design Initiative during a National Academies workshop on Engaging the Private Sector and Developing Partnerships to Advance Health and the Sustainable Development Goals. GHDI "focuses on training a new generation of engineers to collaborate with stakeholders to define problems and develop and implement solutions to address essential health care challenges through engineering design." 

ETHICS IN THE CURRICULUM: Apply by September 19, 2016 to attend a workshop on Overcoming Challenges to Infusing Ethics into the Development of Engineers. Learn more

See the speakers' lineup for the National Academy of Engineering's upcoming U.S. Frontiers of Engineering and Frontiers of Engineering Education symposia.  


THE APPLICATION PERIOD IS OPEN for some of the prestigious fellowship and scholarship opportunities run by ASEE. Check them out here


The Fall 2016 Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on October 21-22, 2016.
The deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to September 1, 2016. 
Please see the conference website for more information:

Look for ABET Alerts on the ASEE website. 

PROCEEDINGS of ASEE's 2016 Annual Conference and International Forum are available online.

eGFI Summer Reading: Is your school hosting an engineering camp, bridge program, or professional development session for K-12 teachers this summer? Jump-start the learning with eGFI (Engineering, Go For It), ASEE's award-winning magazine for middle and high school students. Filled with engaging features, gorgeous graphics, and useful information about engineering colleges and careers, eGFI aims to get teens fired up about engineering. To purchase copies, go to http://store.asee.org/  For bulk purchases or other inquiries, contact eGFI@asee.org or call 202-331-3500.